While it will take time for the complete impact of this purge to manifest itself, some of its consequences can be predicted now.
What is beyond doubt is that here are two major purges which make the power base of the regime much weaker and more vulnerable. This is because:
• Rafsanjani played a decisive role in propelling Khamenei to the position of the Supreme Leader. As the Chair of the Expediency Council, Rafsanjani is a Khamenei personal appointee and as a member of the Assembly of Experts, he has a say on the fitness of the Supreme Leader in the framework of the clerical regime. Thus, his elimination is scandalous and will discredit and de-legitimize the regime as a whole, even among its innermost circles. Khamenei, who despite all the threats and intimidations, was not able to prevent Rafsanjani and Mashaei from becoming candidates, and was compelled to submit to the disgrace of eliminating them.
• The Ahmadinejad-Mashaei team had control over the executive machinery for eight years. As such, they have been able to exert their hegemony over a large portion of the regime’s bureaucracy and the elimination of Mashaei will have dire consequences for the regime in its entirety.
• The rejection of Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei will also irreparably spread factional discord and fissures and feuding within the regime’s rank-and-file, an eventuality that could result in uncontrollable consequences for the regime as a whole.
The result of this purge is that it will aggravate as never before the internal tensions and discord, thus expediting the regime’s unravelling and overthrow. This move was an inevitable self-inflicted political suicide by Khamenei. Khamenei was caught choosing between two miserable scenarios: Either the elimination of Rafsanjani and accepting its consequences, i.e. expediting the regime’s overthrow or accepting Rafsanjani and sharing power with him that would have also expedited the disintegration of the regime.
Khamenei chose the first path, i.e. by resorting to elimination, purge and contraction, he wants to evade the inevitable overthrow. This is exactly what Khamenei has pursued at every step by getting the best of regional and international developments. But the windfall gains of the Kuwaiti war in 1991, the war in Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 have receded and, as the regime continues to become more centralized, this will paradoxically accelerate the regime’s overthrow.
What can be drawn from elimination of Rafsanjani and Mashaei is that:
• The ruling theocracy has reached its end phase. It has demonstrated once again that there are no solutions within this regime and it affirms the legitimacy and the imperative of the regime’s overthrow and the boycott of its elections, which the Iranian resistance has long pursued. Elections are meaningless in this regime and all the power is in the control of Vali-Faqih, the Supreme leader who is accountable to no one or any authority.
• The solution lies outside the regime and in the legitimate and democratic opposition, i.e. the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran that for years had reiterated that this regime is not reformable and has to be overthrown. Whoever is interested in ending the Iranian crisis and seeks to establish peace and tranquillity in the region, and democracy in Iran has to support this opposition.
• Any engagement with this regime would only serve to worsen the regime’s suppression of the Iranian people, the drive to acquire nuclear weapons, and the export of fundamentalism and terrorism, and fuelling of the fires of war in the region by the fundamentalist and reactionary mullahs.
• It is evident from now that subsequent to the elections Khamenei would claim that 50 million Iranians took part in the elections, but the reality is that the farce would be dealt with loath of Iranian people who would boycott it unanimously.
• The major gathering of Iranians outside of Iran on June 22 is a vivid illustration of the fact of the Iranian people’s choice. Those taking part in the June 22 event would reflect the desires and wishes of a major portion of Iranian society. During the past days, by taking big risks, the residents of Tehran and many other cities have been writing graffiti like “my vote is regime’s overthrow” and expressing their position regarding this illegitimate election. The expatriates reflect the voices of those who are inside Iran with their major gathering on June 22.